Follow Us on Twitter

Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light (Review)

Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled With Light

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FANFARLO readily describe their new album Rooms Filled With Light as more ambitious, lyrically and sonically.

Violinist/keyboardist Cathy Lucas talks of a greater emphasis on patterns, repetition and hypnotic atmospheres, while singer and main song-writer Simon Balthazar said it considers the “weird and intense” experience of being alive and “trying to make sense of the modern world with all its bewildering pleasures and possibilities”.

What this translates to in record form is an enjoyable listen, even if it requires a little patience.

Tracks such as album opener Replicate have a rather meticulous approach, with Balthazar’s vocals lacking the warmth that’s found in more upbeat moments. But Lucas’ violin weaves some lovely instrumentals, particularly late on.

Deconstruction, by comparison, maintains a more vibrant sound from the outset and has that radio-friendly quality about it that Fanfarlo are undoubtedly seeking to achieve as they set about getting bigger.

But they never go for the obvious pandering… rather, winning you over slowly with some wonderful stand-alone moments. Lenslife, for instance, sounds like a Talking Heads/David Byrne record that opens with some tantalisingly kooky percussion, before exploding into life over a trumpet-backed chorus. And then it strips things back down to winningly endearing effect.

Shiny Things opens with a moody synth and subtle back-beat before hitting you with the opening lyric “let’s not worry about images, let’s not worry about mind control” and then delivering more breezy instrumentals. It’s warmly delivered and intelligently written.

There’s a deliciously laidback jazz vibe surrounding some of Tunguska, which incorporates some lovely harmonising from Lucas, Everything Turns contains some delicious piano melodies (as if accompanying some unknown nature documentary set in the spring as everything thaws), and Tightrope bounces along in breezy fashion with more winning boy-girl vocals and a shimmering chorus that recalls ‘60s swing at times.

The warmth generated by that track is found again on the equally appealing Feathers, which again finds Balthazar in Talking Heads mode complete with bright percussion loops and more backing from Lucas. They even extend to handclap beats.

All told, it’s a pleasurable listening experience that does almost everything it sets out to achieve – broadening the Fanfarlo sound while extending their appeal.

Download picks: Deconstruction, Lenslife, Everything Turns, Tightrope, Feathers

Track listing:

  1. Replicate
  2. Deconstruction
  3. Lenslife
  4. Shiny Things
  5. Tunguska
  6. Everything Turns
  7. Tightrope
  8. Feathers
  9. Bones
  10. Dig
  11. A Flood
  12. Everything Resolves